Texas Securities Criminal Case Against Oil and Gas Company Executive Can Proceed, Rules Fifth Circuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit says it will not dismiss the Texas investment fraud case filed by the US Department of Justice against Joshua Wayne Bevill on the grounds of collateral estoppel and double jeopardy. The court held that although the Texas man previously pleaded guilty to securities fraud in a case that was related, he has not succeeded in showing collateral estoppel, or how, for double jeopardy purposes, the two cases’ respective “offenses are in law and in fact the same offense.'”

In this criminal case, Bevill is accused of committing financial fraud through a third company, Progressive Investment Partners. He allegedly took on a false identity and stole investor money (to pay for his expensive lifestyle) under the guise of getting them to invest in a supposed oil and gas venture. According to the government, he pleaded guilty to effecting a monetary transaction involving funds that were criminally derived.

Meantime, in the other Texas securities case to which Bevill already has pleaded guilty, he used his two companies, North Texas Partners and United Star Petroleum, which are based in Dallas, to bring in millions of dollars from investors by claiming to sell interests in purported oil and gas development projects.The government says that the defendant was actually just stealing their money.

Bevill has since tried to argue that the securities fraud charges from the two criminal cases are for the same offense. The Fifth Circuit, however, disagrees. The court determined that while Bevill committed the same type of investment scam on the two occasions, the actual acts involved are different and precludes the Double Jeopardy clause from being applied. Also, the court said that since the government has to now show that Bevill made statements to the victims that were fraudulent and this was not shown in the other case, he therefore did not show collateral estoppel.

Related Web Resources:
Northern District of Texas Successfully Prosecuted Numerous Individuals for Fraud in Connection with Oil and Gas Investments in Recent Years, US Department of Justice, January 12, 2012

5th Cir. Rejects Double Jeopardy Bid for Dismissal, Bloomberg/BNA, January 24, 2013

Double Jeopardy Clause, Cornell University Law School

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